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The Spike or Victoria University College Review June 1926

The Last Choice

page 58

The Last Choice

If in a thousand years my dust took form
And in the night, beneath a thunderous storm,
High on the wind there rode a Shade who said.
Cast back your mind to when you were not dead.
I give you choice, for you have tasted both,
Will you have life once more, or are you loath
To break the silence where your sleep has lain
These many years?" should I say,

"Not again
Can winds awaken the remembered sting,
Or summer days their lightsome sandals bring.
Black was the beech glade in the forest way.
I should see vice acclaimed in open day,
Dives in heaven and Lazarus in hell
Until their lives were done, and both were well.
Life gives ill measure, and, though Death gives none,
Yet Death brings justice underneath the sun.
There is but one God, He whose name is Death,
At whose dread coming evil vanisheth.
Him shall I worship through the lightless days
With voiceless music and with muted praise.
And in his service let my sleep be long,
For in his kingdom there is done no wrong.

: : : : :

I do not know that I should say this truth,
For I might turn, as turned the heart of Ruth
Homeward from labour in the stranger's corn,
To think upon the land where I was born.
I might remember valley, hill and plain,
And, blinded, look upon them clear again.
And I might watch until earth's eventide,
As she whom, watching, by her lord's bedside
Until Death met him in that Flemish land,
They found, her face cupped in her snowy hand,
With wide eyes gazing on the Breton shore,
But seeing nought, and nought; nor ever more.